What can I do to stop grinding my teeth?

Do you constantly grind your teeth? Concerned that it might cause long-term dental issues? You’re not alone. Between the ages of 30 to 40, more than 1 million people in the U.S. suffer from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. If you habitually grind your teeth during your sleep, it’s something you should have checked out. Apart from disturbing the sleep of your partner, bruxism is also likely to affect the alignment of your jaw, and ultimately the shape of your jaw. The earlier you prevent it, the better it is for your general and dental health. The best method to prevent bruxism is to find and remove, if possible, the underlying cause.

Man placing mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding
A mouth guard is a great solution for bruxism. But you should also consider any underlying issues and not just treat the symptoms only.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

There three main causes of teeth grinding:

  • Psychological Stress – As surprising as it may sound, mental stress is one of the most common reasons for teeth grinding.
  • Medicines – Certain anti-depressant medicines have the potential to cause bruxism in some individuals.
  • Dental Problems – Misalignment in teeth may also cause some people to involuntary grind their teeth.

Management of Bruxism

Management of teeth grinding involves two aspects: prevention, and damage limitation.

Preventing Bruxism

The first step is to identify the possible cause of your bruxism. What makes you grind your teeth?

  • Stress – If mental stress is the cause of your bruxism, it can be treated with the advice of a psychiatrist. They may teach you how to relax and avoid getting under stress, or prescribe medication. Also some stimulants (like caffeine) may increase stress and cause bruxism.
  • Medication – If you come see us about bruxism, we will ask about any medication you may be taking. Some anti-depressants may cause bruxism.
  • Dental Problems – Imperfections in your bite may also cause you to grind or clench teeth at night. In such a case, we will recommend the necessary procedures to correct your bite, such as Invisalign, which will usually solve the issue.

Damage Limitation

While preventive treatment must continue, and may take some time to show results, it is important to protect your teeth against any physical damage due to teeth grinding. The best option in this case is wearing a guard at night. This will prevent any further damage to your teeth even if you continue to grind for some time. (Side note: if you’re undergoing Invisalign, the aligners you wear also serve to prevent damage caused by bruxism. Just an added bonus!)

If you are located in the Pensacola area and don’t yet have a dentist, give us a call today at (850) 492-7647. Dr. Campus is one of the leading dentists on the Gulf Coast.